June 24, 2008 / 10:43 AM / 12 years ago

Peter Hain says cut power to Zimbabwe

Peter Hain speaks outside the Department of Work and Pensions, in London January 24, 2008. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

LONDON (Reuters) - A former British minister for Africa said on Tuesday that South Africa should cut power supplies to Zimbabwe, and African peacekeepers backed by the EU and United Nations should be ready to go in and restore order.

Peter Hain, a noted anti-apartheid campaigner who served as Africa minister under former Prime Minister Tony Blair, said it would also be essential to give Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe immunity from prosecution.

Hain told Sky News that Mugabe would never respond to “diplomatic niceties”, so firm action was needed, starting with sanctions against the whole of his elite.

“Electricity supplies from South Africa, which have been going in for many years now, should be cut off. And that would hit the regime more than anything else because the people can hardly suffer any more than they have been already,” he said.

“And then we can see the beginnings of a strategy with, if necessary, African peacekeepers supported by the United Nations and the European Union going in to restore order and to make sure that there is not genocide,” Hain said.

He said a government of national unity should then be formed under opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, which could include members of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party.

In the 1970s, Hain was named “South Africa’s Public Enemy Number One” for his anti-apartheid protests.

Hain said giving Mugabe and members of his elite immunity from prosecution was necessary to ensure a peaceful transition to democracy in Zimbabwe.

“That’s unpalatable, but it’s probably essential to give them a safe passage or guarantees, or whatever they require to get them out of this bloodstained arena and make sure that a transition to a peaceful democratic society could be possible.”

Reporting by David Clarke, editing by Kate Kelland and Richard Balmforth

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